Upon doing research for the recent episode of The Science Of Violence radio show I realized that including last weekends UFC 130 there are six consecutive weekends featuring “major” MMA events. As a fan of the sport it goes without saying that I was excited to learn of this as I’m sure are most fans. I imagine now that th site is up and running I, along my cohorts will be discussing some of these events as they draw near so for the moment I’ll just give a quick glimpse on some of the fights that are most intriguing to myself in the upcoming weeks.
First up is this Saturdays Ultimate Fighter season 13 finale which is headlined by former WEC Lightweight Champion Anthony ‘Showtime’ Pettis making his UFC debut against lightweight stalwart Clay Guida. Pettis enters this fight with a ton of momentum coming off his title winning effort over Ben Henderson in one of the best fights last year highlighted by what has been dubbed the “Showtime kick”. For those who have yet to see it Pettis launched himself off the cage and landed a kick to Henderson knocking him down in the final round of a back and forth fight. The kick has since been shown on numerous sports and even non fight related shows which along with Pettis’ appearance on Mtvs reality show World Of Jenks has signifigantly boosted his profile. Pettis was awarded the next UFC lightweight title shot but since champion Frank Edgar and challenger Gray Maynard fought to a draw that opportunity has since been delayed.
As for this matchup, though Guida has shown technical improvements since joining Greg Jacksons camp I favor the more dynamic Pettis in this one. I do anticipate an entertaining bout as Showtime has earned his moniker on numerous occasions and 2 of Guidas more exciting fights, against Roger Huerta and Diego Sanchez, both happened on TUF finales. Regardless of who wins I don’t envision it being easy for either and think both will have their moments in a fast paced affair.
The following weekend we have UFC 131 which was to be main evented by TUF 13 head coaches Brock Lesnar and Junior Dos Santos but unfortunately for the UFC Lesnar was forced to withdraw after suffering another case of diverticulitis. Dissapointing as it may be for UFC from a marketing and financial standpoint may be a blessing in disguise for fans as Brock has been replaced with Shane Carwin. Sure Lesnar has beaten Carwin but looking at the fight from a stylistic standpoint Dos Santos/Carwin should provide some heavy hitting whereas Brock likely would’ve wanted no part of such. Not to mention the winner of this contest guarantees us a new challenger for UFC heavyweight champ Cain Velasquez.
Next up on the schedule Strikeforces Heavyweight Grand Prix resumes featuring a rematch between Strikeforce Heavyweight Champion Alistair Overeem and Fabricio Werdum. The two first met in 2006 coincidentally enough in a tournament in PRIDE FC in which Werdum won by 2nd round submission. Now 5 years later that fight seems a distant memory as not only are both improved fighters since that time but are also at career highs. Overeem has been demonstrating why he’s called “Demolition Man” as he has been tearing through opponents in both mixed martial arts and K1 the past year including being the first fighter to hold both an MMA championship and K1 World Grand Prix title. Meanwhile Werdum is coming off the biggest win of his career, a first round submission over longtime heavyweight kingpin Fedor Emelianenko in the opening round of Strikeforces HW tournament. Although both combatants are well versed on the ground and stand up there’s no question who is superior in each area. The one question that will be answered is who will put the fight where it favors them which shall in turn likely lead to the victor.
MMA and UFC return to Sunday night when UFC on Versus 4 debuts on June 26. There are a hanful of interesting bouts on paper but most notable is the main event where former middleweight title challenger Nate Marquardt drops down to welterweight where he’ll be welcomed by the surging Rick Story. Marquadt was originally set to face Anthony Johnson who just before the time of this being written had to withdraw after being injured in training. In his place will be Rick Story who just notched his most signifigant win to date over Thiago Alves at UFC 130. Full credit must be given to Story as he will be fighting less than a month later in a situation where he has much more to lose than gain. Not to mention the fact that although he won the victory over Alves was not without adversity as Rick tired late but peresevered through a tough 3rd round to secure the decision. Win or lose Story is showing the kind of confidence in his abilities that champions are made of.
Things wrap up on 4th of July weekend which UFC will hope begins with a bang by way of their stacked UFC 132 card. Honestly there are more than a few fights to look forward to on this event but personally I think the title bout between UFC Bantamweight Champion and former WEC Featherweight Champ Urijah Faber is a must see. There are plenty of storylines going into this grudge match the obvious being that Cruz’ sole defeat came at the hands of Faber back in 2007 at WEC 26 where he unsuccessfully challenged for Fabers 145 pound belt. Cruz has impressed since that time defeating then WEC Bantamweight Champion Brian Bowles to win the title as well as twice besting Faber teammate Joseph Benavidez. Meanwhile “The California Kid” has seen his share of highs and lows entering this match on a 2 fight win streak. These two have had no problem sharing their dislike for one another and unlike so many other fabricated rivalries the animosity between Cruz and Faber is genuine. A strong case could be made for either and you can all but be guaranteed that much like the holiday 2 days later there will be fireworks in this one.
I can be reached at ScienceOfViolence@Gmail.com & Twitter.com/916Chris